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Recent Longevity News for the week ending 9/18/19

A New Drug for Heart Failure? DEFINE-HF Bolsters Dapagliflozin Cardiovascular Cred - Medscape, 9/17/19 - "In diabetes, SGLT-2 inhibitors work in part by promoting elimination of glucose in urine, so it has been frequently questioned whether dapagliflozin in HFrEF is simply "an expensive diuretic," ..."Frankly, if they have diabetes and heart failure, using one of these medications is a no-brainer," Kosiborod agreed when interviewed. Their trials show the drugs can lead to significant reductions in morbidity, mortality, and symptom burden, he said ... the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given dapagliflozin "fast track" status for a proposed indication to reduce cardiovascular death or worsening of heart failure in adults with either reduced- or preserved-ejection-fraction heart failure"

Vitamin E found to prevent muscle damage after heart attack - Science Daily, 9/16/19 - "Unfortunately lasting damage to the heart muscle is not uncommon following such an event ... As there is currently no drug available that can reduce the cardiac damage caused by an overshooting inflammation after reopening of a blocked coronary artery, the potential impact of our finding on cardiovascular health would be significant" - Here's the abstract:

Someone told me that they wouldn't buy medications from some overseas pharmacies because they were made in China.  See "NBC Investigates" - "80% of key ingredients for U.S. drugs come from overseas mainly from China."

Causal Link Between Vitamin D and Total Testosterone in Men - Medscape, 9/13/19 - "We provide evidence for the biologically plausible causal effects of 25(OH)D on total T using MR analysis. Whether vitamin D supplementation can raise androgen levels merits further investigation in long-term, randomized controlled trials" - See vitamin D at Amazon.com.

The Week That Wasn't: Reverse Aging, Lyme Test, Apple Health Studies - Medscape, 9/13/19 - "After a year of taking the recombinant human growth hormone dehydroepiandrosterone and metformin, men in a small clinical trial showed a decrease in scores of epigenetic age based on DNA methylation ... his is to our knowledge the first report of an increase, based on an epigenetic age estimator, in predicted human lifespan by means of a currently accessible aging intervention" - See Pure Encapulations 7-Keto DHEA at Amazon.com.

Abnormal gut bugs tied to worse cognitive performance in vets with PTSD and cirrhosis - Science Daily, 9/12/19 - "A study involving military veterans with PTSD and cirrhosis of the liver points to an abnormal mix of bacteria in the intestines as a possible driver of poor cognitive performance -- and as a potential target for therapy ... the findings add to the substantial evidence linking gut health and brain function ... Those with PTSD had microbiota that were less diverse, meaning they had fewer types of bacteria overall ... These veterans, along with the relative lack of diversity in their gut, tended to have more potentially harmful types of bacteria, such as Enterococcus and Escherichia/Shigella, and fewer beneficial ones, such as Lachnospiraceae and Ruminococcaceae ... He cited probiotic supplements or fecal transplants as two possible therapy approaches" - See probiotic products at Amazon.com.

Long-Term Beta Blockers Post-CABG Questioned, Even With Low LVEF - Medscape, 9/12/19 - "The analysis saw mortality go steadily down over about 8 years following CABG for patients who stayed on statins, antiplatelets, and renin-angiotensin system (RAS) inhibitors, but beta blockers conferred no such survival benefit ... Indeed, the study's "biggest surprise" was that beta blockers didn't help survival even in a subgroup that might seem more likely to benefit, those with poor left ventricular (LV) systolic function ... We had a very crude characterization of left ventricular function"

FDA phase 1 trial shows hydrogel to repair heart is safe to inject in humans -- a first - Science Daily, 9/11/19 - "There are an estimated 785,000 new heart attack cases in the United States each year, with no established treatment for repairing the resulting damage to cardiac tissue. After a heart attack, scar tissue develops, which diminishes muscle function and leads to heart failure. This is where VentriGel comes in. Once injected in damaged cardiac muscle, VentriGel forms a scaffold that acts as a reparative environment where healthy cells migrate, leading to increases in cardiac muscle, less scar tissue, and improvements in heart function."

Only a fraction of the costs of excessive drinking are paid for by alcohol taxes - Science Daily, 9/11/19 - "The total harm caused by excessive alcohol consumption is a staggering $2.05 per drink in the United States, and, of this, the government ends up paying about 80 cents per drink. However, the federal government and states only bring in about 21 cents per drink on average in alcohol taxes" - Note:  At least one study says about the same for pot.  Pot advocates dispute that claiming the study was biased because it was by a Christian university but it’s also common sense. As one example, a lot of street people have schizophrenia. The meds for that can run $600 per month. Tack on the costs to room, board and food for life if you’re going to take them off the streets as you should. - [Abstract]

Dietary supplement may help with schizophrenia - Science Daily, 9/9/19 - "Sarcosine represents a very logical treatment and the small number of clinical trials so far do seem to show that it can be helpful. It certainly seems to be safe and some patients report feeling better on it ... Sarcosine naturally occurs in foods such as egg yolks, turkey and legumes, and can be bought as a dietary supplement, sometimes promoted as a 'brain health supplement', with various claims being made that are not all backed up by adequate evidence ... The only risk identified so far seems to be that some people taking sarcosine to treat schizophrenia who are also on antidepressants may experience hypomania (disinhibition and euphoria)" - See sarcosine at Amazon.com.

Commonly used antibiotics may lead to heart problems - Science Daily, 9/10/19 - "current users of fluoroquinolone antibiotics, such as Ciprofloxacin or Cipro, face a 2.4 times greater risk of developing aortic and mitral regurgitation, where the blood backflows into the heart, compared to patients who take amoxicillin, a different type of antibiotic. The greatest risk is within 30 days of use"

The diet-microbiome connection in inflammatory bowel disease - Science Daily, 9/9/19 - "The bacteria in the gut are known to be a really important factor in tipping the scales toward disease ... And the environmental factor that seems to contribute the most to rapid changes in the microbiome is what you eat. Given that dogs' microbiomes are extremely similar to those of humans, we thought this was an intriguing model to ask, 'Could diet be impacting this disease through an impact on the microbiome?'" ... One of these "good" microbes that can give rise to secondary bile acids was the bacterium Clostridium hiranonis, which the researchers found in greater numbers in dogs that went into remission ... Youngsters who responded to the therapy had an increase in numbers of the bacteria species Clostridium scindens, which, like C. hiranonis, is a potent producer of secondary bile acids" - See probiotic products at Amazon.com.

Seeking an Obesity Cure, Researchers Turn to the Gut Microbiome - NYT, 9/10/19 - "A clinical trial published in the journal Nature Medicine in July, for example, found that giving obese people supplements containing a gut microbe linked to leanness in mice and humans lowered their cholesterol, inflammation and insulin and even led to a few pounds of weight loss compared to a control group ... Still, Dr. Yu said a capsule containing a cocktail of beneficial microbes is never going to be a silver bullet." - See probiotic products at Amazon.com.

The fast and the curious: Fitter adults have fitter brains - Science Daily, 9/9/19 - "physical fitness is associated with better brain structure and brain functioning in young adults. This opens the possibility that increasing fitness levels may lead to improved cognitive ability, such as memory and problem solving, as well as improved structural changes in the brain ... It surprised us to see that even in a young population cognitive performance decreases as fitness levels drops. We knew how this might be important in an elderly population which does not necessarily have good health, but to see this happening in 30 year olds is surprising. This leads us to believe that a basic level of fitness seems to be a preventable risk factor for brain health"

Is it really possible that plant-based foods such as the Impossible Whopper are healthful? - Washington Post, 9/9/19 - "Using the term “plant-based” on fast food labels is just another attempt by marketers to re-brand junk food. True plant-based eating doesn’t mean opting for an Impossible Whopper in the drive-through or scrambling up some 15-ingredient plant-based “egg alternative.” It means a diet that includes nourishing options such as black beans, broccoli and brown rice. We’re always looking for some magical way to eat junky food and achieve health. Don’t be fooled by this plant-based pretense."

Gut bacteria may be linked to high blood pressure and depression - Science Daily, 9/5/19 - "the investigators discovered unique patterns of bacteria from people with 1) high blood pressure plus depression; 2) high blood pressure without depression; 3) depression with healthy blood pressure; or 4) healthy subjects without depression or high blood pressure ... Stevens said the results suggest different medical mechanisms of high blood pressure that correlate with signature molecules produced by gut bacteria. These molecules are thought to impact the cardiovascular system, metabolism, hormones and the nervous system." - See probiotic products at Amazon.com.

Cannabis may hold promise to treat PTSD but evidence lags behind use - Science Daily, 9/3/19 - "The lack of evidence supporting cannabis as a PTSD treatment is striking ... Every study had medium to high risk of bias and all were assessed as low in quality due to limitations such as small sample size, retrospective study design, lack of a control group or placebo, short follow-up periods, and not reporting other medication use or addiction. Only one study was a randomised controlled trial, investigating nabilone, but it was in a small sample over a relatively short period of time ... The researchers say there are still many unanswered questions about the safety and efficacy of cannabis-based medications for PTSD, and potential long-term effects such as addiction or a risk of psychosis ... Current prescribing of cannabinoids for PTSD is not backed up by high quality evidence"

Abstracts from this week:

Effects of enzymatically modified isoquercitrin in supplementary protein powder on athlete body composition: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial - J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2019 Sep 10;16(1):39 - "Enzymatically modified isoquercitrin (EMIQ), a water-soluble quercetin, has been shown to intensify muscle hypertrophy in mice ... Participants received either EMIQ in whey protein (EW, n = 19) or contrast whey protein (W, n = 20) 6 days per week over 4 months ... After 4 months, changes in lower limb fat-free mass and muscle mass were significantly greater in the EW group than in the W group (mean change ±95% CI; W: 324.1 ± 284.3, EW: 950.3 ± 473.2, p = 0.031, W: 255.7 ± 288.6, EW: 930.9 ± 471.5, p = 0.021, respectively). Moreover, the EW group exhibited a significantly higher BAP/d-ROMs ratio, antioxidation index, than the W group after 4 months (mean change ± SD; W: 8.8 ± 1.1, EW: 10.3 ± 2.8; p = 0.028)" - [Nutra USA] - See enzymatically modified isoquercitrin (EMIQ) at Amazon.com.

Effect of pomegranate fruit supplementation on performance and various markers in athletes and active subjects: a systematic review - Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2019 Sep 12:1-15 - "POM supplementation varied in terms of form (pills/juice), dosage (50 ml-500 ml) and time of intervention (7 days-2 months) between studies. Among the reviewed articles, POM supplementation had an effect on the improvement of the following: whole body strength; feeling of vitality; acute and delayed muscle fatigue and soreness; increase in vessel diameter; blood flow and serum level of TAC; reduction in the rate of increase for HR, SBP, CK and LDH; support in the recovery of post-training CK, LDH, CRP and ASAT to their baseline levels; reduction of MMP2, MMP9, hsCRP and MDA; and increased activity of antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase). In the majority of reviewed articles POM supplementation had a positive effect on a variety of parameters studied and the authors recommended it as a supplement for athletes and physically active bodies" - See pomegranate extract at Amazon.com.

Curcumin Inhibits Joint Contracture through PTEN Demethylation and Targeting PI3K/Akt/mTOR Pathway in Myofibroblasts from Human Joint Capsule - Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019 Aug 14;2019:4301238 - "Joint contracture is increasingly regarded as a clinical problem that leads to irreversible dysfunction of the joint. It is a pathophysiological process following joint injury, which is marked by the activation of myofibroblasts. There is currently no effective treatment for the prevention of joint contracture ... In the present study, we demonstrated that curcumin exerts a protective effect against joint contracture via the inhibition of myofibroblast proliferation and migration in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, we indicated that phosphatase and tension homolog (PTEN) was downregulated in myofibroblasts in vitro and in the contracture capsule tissues of patients in vivo. Additionally, western blot analysis revealed a negative correlation between the expression levels of PTEN and the fibrosis marker protein alpha smooth muscle cell actin. Methylation-specific PCR results suggested that curcumin was able to demethylate PTEN in a similar manner to the demethylation agent 5-azacytidine, increasing PTEN expression and further inhibiting phosphoinositide 3-kinase/protein kinase B/mammalian target of rapamycin signaling. In conclusion, our data illustrate part of the mechanism of curcumin inhibition in joint contracture. These results support the hypothesis that curcumin may potentially be used as a novel candidate for the treatment of joint contracture" - See curcumin products at Amazon.com.

Melatonin as a rational alternative in the conservative treatment of resistant hypertension - Hypertens Res. 2019 Sep 13 - "Since the BP threshold for starting antihypertensive therapy was reduced to ≥130/80 mmHg in the AHA guidelines, the prevalence of patients with treatment-resistant hypertension is likely to increase. Thus, finding a novel therapeutic option is a challenging issue. Commonly used therapeutic regimes involve volume reducing agents, inhibitors of the formation or effects of Ang II, and calcium channel blockers [1]. While the treatment-resistant hypertension often contains a central neurogenic pathomechanical component, the above postulated mechanisms of action of melatonin could find their application in its treatment. Based on the 2K1C model and other models of hypertension, melatonin triggers sympatholytic and bradycardic effects [9] and, due to its apparent antiproliferative action [13], this hormone even offers nephro- and cardioprotection beyond BP reduction. Therefore, melatonin becomes an essential candidate to be investigated for the treatment of resistant hypertension." - See melatonin at Amazon.com.

Sweet Cherry Extract Targets the Hallmarks of Cancer in Prostate Cells: Diminished Viability, Increased Apoptosis and Suppressed lycolytic Metabolism - Nutr Cancer. 2019 Sep 11:1-15 - "The Saco "late harvest" extract was highly-enriched in anthocyanins and selected for use in biological assays. Non-neoplastic (PNT1A) and neoplastic (LNCaP and PC3) human prostate cells were treated with 0-2,000 μg/ml of extract for 48-96 h. Cell viability was evaluated by the MTT assay. Apoptosis, oxidative stress, and glycolytic metabolism were assessed by Western blotting and enzymatic assays. Glucose consumption and lactate production were measured spectrophotometrically. Saco cherry extract diminished the viability of neoplastic and non-neoplastic cells, whereas enhancing apoptosis in LNCaP. Cherry extract-treatment also diminished oxidative damage and suppressed glycolytic metabolism in LNCaP cells. These findings widened the knowledge on the mechanisms by which cherry extract modulate cell physiology, demonstrating their broad action over the hallmarks of cancer" - See sweet cherry extract at Amazon.com (but it only shows tart).

Probiotics Reduce Health Care Cost and Societal Impact of Flu-Like Respiratory Tract Infections in the USA: An Economic Modeling Study - Front. Pharmacol., 28 August 2019 - "The analysis showed that generalized probiotic intake in the US population for 2017–2018 would have allowed cost savings for the health care payer of 4.6 million USD based on the YHEC scenario and 373 million USD for the Cochrane scenario, by averting 19 million and 54.5 million RTI sick days, respectively, compared to no probiotics" - [Nutra USA] - See probiotic products at Amazon.com.

Chronic Fish Oil Consumption with Resistance Training Improves Grip Strength, Physical Function, and Blood Pressure in Community-Dwelling Older Adults - Sports (Basel). 2019 Jul 9;7(7) - "Twenty-eight healthy older adults (10 males, 18 females; 66.5 ± 5.0 years) were randomly assigned to three groups: Control (CON), resistance training (RT), resistance training with FO (RTFO) ... BP substantially decreased only in RTFO, systolic blood pressure (-7.8 mmHg), diastolic blood pressure (-4.5 mmHg), mean arterial pressure (-5.6 mmHg), while no change was found in CON and RT. Chronic RT enhanced strength and physical function, while FO consumption combined with RT improved BP in community-dwelling older adults" - [Nutra USA] - See omega-3 supplements at Amazon.com.

Comparing Perika St. John's Wort and Sertraline for Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Mice - J Diet Suppl. 2019 Feb 18:1-9 - "exaggerated acoustic startle response (ASR) ... Thirty-six mice were tested for baseline ASR, then they were exposed to rats in a predator exposure paradigm known to induce PTSD-like symptoms. Mice were randomly divided into three groups for treatment (control, sertraline, SJW), and ASR was retested one week later. One-way ANOVAs found no significant group differences in ASR amplitude at baseline but a significant effect of Treatment Group after predator exposure, F(2, 33) = 5.645, p = .008, n2 = .225, when SJW-treated mice had ASR amplitudes that were significantly lower than sertraline-treated mice (by 27%) and controls (by 26%). Fecal boli counts showed a similar pattern, with lowest counts in SJW-treated mice. These results suggest SJW could be considered for studies of PTSD treatment in humans as well" - See Perika St. John's Wort at Amazon.com.

Impact of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Among Other Nonpharmacological Interventions on Behavior and Quality of Life in Children with Compromised Conduct in Spain - J Diet Suppl. 2018 Oct 31:1-12 - "Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) ... The omega-3 fatty acid supplementation subgroup presented greater improvements in each category of SDQ (p < .05), except for the emotion subscale. Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation alone or in combination with other nonpharmacological treatments is effective in improving children's mental health. Overall, nonpharmacological recommendations currently made by pediatricians seem to be effective in improving the perceived health status and patients' QOL and in the reduction of health problems, especially hyperactivity/inattention and conduct problems" - See omega-3 supplements at Amazon.com.

The Effect of Curcumin on Serum Copper and Zinc and Zn/Cu Ratio in Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome: A Double-Blind Clinical Trial - J Diet Suppl. 2018 Jul 18:0 - "The serum Zn/Cu level in phospholipidated curcumin and curcumin groups after intervention was higher than for the control group, but it was more significant in the group taking phospholipidated curcumin (p <.001). Curcumin and phospholipidated curcumin complex, given at a dose of 1 g per day for six weeks, were associated with an increase in serum zinc and consequently zinc-to-copper ratio"

Effect of Curcumin Supplementation on Exercise-Induced Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, Muscle Damage, and Muscle Soreness - J Diet Suppl. 2019 Apr 26:1-14 - "Curcumin has been shown to reduce exercise-induced oxidative stress (OS) and inflammation ... Nineteen males participated in a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to examine the effects of curcumin supplementation (1.5 g/day) compared to a placebo (PLA) following a muscle-damaging protocol (MDP) on OS, inflammation, muscle damage, and soreness ... After supplementation, curcumin significantly blunted CK levels (199.62 U/L) compared to the placebo (287.03 U/L), overall (p < 0.0001). In addition, curcumin resulted in decreased muscle soreness, overall (VAS scale 2.88), when compared to the placebo (VAS scale 3.36) (p = 0.0120). There were no differences found in TAC, TNF-α, or MDA. Curcumin may reduce muscle damage and perceived muscle soreness without negatively impacting a natural inflammatory response following exercise" - [Nutra USA] - See curcumin products at Amazon.com.

Neat Tech Stuff / "How To's":

I’ve purchased so many brands of long sleeve t-shirts over the years that I feel that I’m an expert. Here’s my assessment on the best ones. Carhartt is 6.8 oz cotton has the best material I’ve seen but you have to remove the geeky pocket and have it tapered if you have even a slight athletic shape. So $22 for the shirt and at least $10 for the taper, $32. Chamber 305’s are 8 ounce cotton, which is almost too much. They run $35. They also need tapering but the fabric doesn’t have any give so tapering them makes them extremely hard to get on.  The Duluth trim fit long sleeve are good and they're 7.4 ounce cotton but I don't like the dark colors.  The Comfort Colors line has the best fit (slightly athletic) and best colors and for that reason, they're my favorite even though they're only 6.1 ounce cotton.  I made the mistake of purchasing Amazon's NASA shirt for $30 thinking it would be better quality.  It's just a Comfort Colors shirt with a pocket that says "NASA".  The tag on the back of the neck is even the Comfort Colors tag and it's the same cut and 6.1 ounce cotton.  They charge you $18 addition for that cheap tacky pocket that says "NASA".  My favorite is the Comfort Colors for the best fit and colors  The Carhartt's come in second.  Even with tapering, the fit doesn't come out as good and the color selection isn't as good.  Amazon Basics also has long sleeve t-shirts but the price is the same as the Comfort Colors but they're not as good plus the hems on the sleeves are really cheap looking.  I hate the look and feel of polyester blends.

An easy solution to mice, rats, lizards and snakes in your garage. That lizard was driving me nuts for months. It took two days with this but I got him: https://amzn.to/34NTMdi

8 ways to measure your fitness that aren't heart rate - CNET, 9/12/19 - "You get sleep, but do you get deep sleep? The distinction is important: You need deep sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and energized, because this stage involves the slowing of your heartbeat, breathing and brain waves. Sleep deprivation causes all sorts of physiological changes in your body and makes exercise feel more difficult. One night of poor sleep can even decrease your endurance ... Track it: If you have the means, you could invest in a smart bed that tracks your sleep cycle and automatically adjusts mattress settings throughout the night so you get the best sleep possible. Otherwise, you could wear a Fitbit, which pretty accurately tracks deep sleep, or try another sleep tracker or app. " - See Fitbits at Amazon.com.

  • Commercial Trackers a Good Gauge of Total Sleep Time - Medscape, 6/10/19 - "The study compared the Fitbit Charge HR (worn on the wrist), the Beddit 2 (placed under the bedsheet), and the ResMed S+ (placed on the nightstand) for accuracy in estimating TST against the clinically-validated actigraphy (Philips Actiwatch-L) ... The devices did fairly well in estimating total sleep time when compared to actigraphy but they did worse when compared to sleep diaries — but nobody should rely just on sleep diaries anymore ... The results showed significant differences in estimated TST between the three devices and the sleep diary, with the devices underestimating TST by 25 to 49 minutes on average ... Fitbit Charge HR ... -3.3% ... Beddit 2 ... -6.4% ... Actiwatch-L ... -9.7% ... ResMed S+ ... When compared against actigraphy, average TST estimated by the Fitbit Charge HR and the Beddit 2 did not differ significantly from actigraphy, while the ResMed S+ estimated mean TST was slightly lower than actigraphy (by 12.8 minutes)"

Health Focus (Gallstones):